German utility E.ON has agreed to sell its 46.65% stake in its spin-off Uniper to Finish utility Fortum for roughly €3.76 billion ($4.5 billion), Kallanish Energy reports.
“This transaction enables us to sell our entire Uniper stake at an attractive price for E.ON,” said E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen, adding the company will now focus fully on its customers and core businesses.
“The course has been set for profitable growth,” he noted.
Tendering of the shares is taking place despite great opposition from Uniper’s management, board and main investors. Fortum will pay €22 ($26.20) per share, dated Nov. 7, 2017, an offer which Uniper’s CEO Klaus Schafer considers “unacceptable.”
Uniper argues the offer price is “unfair” and “doesn’t reflect the company’s potential.” It said Uniper shares would be worth more than €27 ($32.20) considering the average control premium for cash offers for takeovers of companies in Europe since 2002, which is roughly 35% based on a share price four weeks prior to the announcement of the transaction.
The German power plant also claims there’s no strategic point to the transaction, since it focuses on conventional power generation (mostly gas and coal) and Fortum “focuses on CO2-free generation with no significant expertise in thermal generation outside of Russia.”
Fortum hasn’t clearly stated what its intentions are with the takeover, but its CEO, Pekka Lundmark, said “investment in Uniper will deliver an attractive return and support us in accelerating the transition to a clean and secure energy future.”
E.ON and other shareholders in Uniper have until Jan. 16 to accept Fortum’s offer, with an additional acceptance period expected to take place between Jan. 20 and Feb. 2. E.ON management which hold shares in Uniper have agreed to tender their stock, too.
By Tuesday, Fortum had been offered just 0.17% of shares on top of the 46.65% stake it bought from E.ON, a regulatory filing showed.